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For the last decade I have worshipped at the shrine of Suzy. Suzy Gershman, that is—Shopping Goddess. For those who’ve not yet read Gershman’s “Born to Shop” book series formerly published by Frommer’s and currently in republication by Gershman’s own Talking Frog Media, these are the ultimate shopping guides to the world. As a travel writer, Suzy has accomplished something with her series of travel shopping books that few guidebook authors have. She’s witty, she’s funny (she causes me to laugh out loud imagining myself in her well-worn Tod’s), whilst still being informative. Suzy gives readers all the travel diva-details on who, what, when, where and why without boring you in the factual process. When Suzy writes an address it reads as poetry, and stops to the stores she recommends punctuate my travels with exclamations, gasps and sighs. She’s like chocolate without the calories.
Suzy Gershman’s “Born to Shop” series is a classic, tucked on my book shelves between Austen and Bronte. In fact, if I’m honest, Suzy garners more real estate in my library than nearly any other author on file—and for an English lit grad-turned-antiques dealer obsessed with research that’s saying a lot—my bibliothèque is bulging. My shelves are littered with her prose, the pages of past editions puffing from dog-ears, sticky tabs and the occasional receipt saved for posterity. Did I really get that Fendi scarf at an outlet in Italy for a mere 25 Euros? Ahh, sweet memories. I can practically lick the Bellini off the pages for all the cocktail stops made at Suzy’s recommendations. She’s such a bad influence—that’s why I like her so darn much.
Air France really should pay her a commission on the excess baggage charges thousands and thousands of her readers have racked up over the years after shopping in her wake. And just when I thought Gershman couldn’t get any better, I discovered—quelle horreur—another book from her I’d never read: Suzy Gershman’s Where To Buy The Best of Everything: The Outspoken Guide for World Travelers and Online Shoppers. Whereas Gershman’s Born to Shop series are destination-oriented, her new-to-me book, which was first published in 2008 by Frommer’s, has made the crossover into the public sector. Book readers around the world, who just returned from their last trip and haven’t yet made plans for the next, can enjoy Gershman as much as they do when sitting in the Daneli, the Adlon or the Georges V.
Where to Buy the Best of Everything is about merchandise and brands. While it does include addresses in more than 150 different cities around the world, the book is really, in Suzy’s words, “about stuff—and how to buy it.” Suzy gives behind-the-scenes details, explaining how anyone can be a shopping goddess and sharing the tips of the trade with you. I hope you don’t consider this a “Spoiler Alert,” but the secret to Suzy’s success is research with a capital R. The Music Man had it right when he sang, “You’ve got to know the territory.”
Suzy’s book covers chain stores in the USA and abroad and with typical Gershman tenacity—you’ll find notes on “Big Lots” and “Chanel” on the same page. Only Suzy could get away with this. She gives great advice on bath products, on T-shirts, on bridal wear and Bohemian looks. She shares who the trendsetters are and devotes sufficient real estate to hard-hitting subjects such as handbags, sunglasses and shoes. She even discusses supermarkets. She divulges details on designer diaper bags, and kid’s kit and her chapter on bed linen is so comprehensive I could barely make up my mind on where to purchase my new duvet for all the decisions to be had. She covers cookery courses and tour companies, art lessons and farmers markets, and when your credit card is seconds away from crying mercy, she shifts her subjects to bargains and alternative retail. With 500 pages—each one better than the last—Suzy Gershman has created an exhaustive shopping guide.
I simply don’t know how I shopped without it. Forget Consumer Reports. Before you make your next purchase, consult Suzy!
Toma Clark Haines is The Antiques Diva™, author of the blog The Antiques Diva and Chief Executive Diva of The Antiques Diva™ Company offering European Antique Shopping Tours and a simply sensational online antiques and vintage store “Treasures by The Antiques Diva™.
The Antiques Diva™ is the In-House Antiques Expert for Bonjour Paris. Bonjour Paris Premium Members will receive a 10% discount with the Antiques Diva™ Tours.
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Suzy Gershman’s Where to Buy the Best of Everything: The Outspoken Guide for World Travelers and Online Shoppers
Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman
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